Deception is one of those movies that try really hard to be chilling, sexy, box-office-smashing thrillers and then fall short of all their goals, despite and perhaps even because of all that trying.
Predictability and believability (or lack thereof) weigh heavy on director Marcel Langenegger’s debut effort. From the get-go, we can see the deception in Deception a mile away. Thanks to the previews, we know that Hugh Jackman’s character, Wayne, is not who he appears to be. We also know his new buddy, Jonathan (Ewan McGregor), a boring accountant, will somehow get mixed up in a sex club after he and Wayne accidentally switch phones. Wayne then conveniently leaves town for a few weeks’ work in London.
We are led to believe that there is a secret list of high-power New Yorkers who exchange phone numbers and bodily fluids, but not names. On any given night, a member might get a phone call asking simply, “Are you free tonight?” and within seconds a hookup is planned in a swanky NYC hotel.
When Jonathan starts getting phone calls meant for Wayne, he takes advantage of the anonymous sex—but even with partners like Natasha Henstridge, the “hot” scenes aren’t particularly hot. Then Jonathan meets the woman of his dreams (Michelle Williams), also on the list, who mysteriously disappears during a late-night encounter.
The rest of the film is concerned with finding this woman and discovering Wayne’s true colors. Neither finding is particularly titillating.
McGregor and Jackman, each of whom could carry a film, are good but not great here. But Williams, best known for her role on Dawson’s Creek, surprisingly holds her own between the male powerhouses as the female lead.
In the end, decent acting and beautiful sets—from New York to Madrid—save this film from the junk pile.